AMD Radeon RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT review: A glorious return to high end gaming

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Total War: Troy

The latest game in the popular Total War saga, Troy was given away free for its first 24 hours on the Epic Games Store, moving over 7.5 million copies before it went on proper sale. Total War: Troy is built using a modified version of the Total War: Warhammer 2 engine, and this DX11 title looks stunning for a turn-based strategy game. We test the more intensive battle benchmark.

troy Brad Chacos/IDG

Stop, stop, he’s already dead. For whatever reason, Total War: Troy vastly prefers Nvidia’s Ampere architecture to AMD’s RDNA 2. The Radeon RX 6800 hangs tougher than its bigger sibling, but this game is a resounding win for GeForce.

F1 2020

The latest in a long line of successful racing games, F1 2020 is a gem to test, supplying a wide array of both graphical and benchmarking options, making it a much more reliable (and fun) option that the Forza series. It’s built on the latest version of Codemasters’ buttery-smooth Ego game engine, complete with support for DX12 and Nvidia’s DLSS technology. We test two laps on the Australia course, with clear skies on and DLSS off.

f1 2020 Brad Chacos/IDG

Here the tables flip again, with both Radeon GPUs seizing uncontested victories at all resolutions. The Radeon RX 6800 even manages a stunning 19-percent win over the RTX 3070 at 4K.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider concludes the reboot trilogy, and it’s utterly gorgeous. Square Enix optimized this game for DX12, and recommends DX11 only if you’re using older hardware or Windows 7, so we test with DX12. Shadow of the Tomb Raider uses an enhanced version of the Foundation engine that also powered Rise of the Tomb Raider and includes optional real-time ray tracing and DLSS features.

sotr Brad Chacos/IDG

All of these graphics cards start to hit a CPU or engine bottleneck at 1080p, delivering largely identical performance. Beyond that, the trends we’ve largely observed remain the same.

GTA V

This DX11 game that isn’t really a visual barn-burner like the (somewhat wonky) Red Dead Redemption 2, but it still tops the Steam charts day in and day out, so we deem it more worthy of testing. RDR2 will melt your graphics card, sure, but GTA V remains so popular years after launch that upgraded versions of it will be available on the next-generation consoles. That’s staying power.

We test Grand Theft Auto V with all options turned to Very High, all Advanced Graphics options except extended shadows enabled, and FXAA. GTA V runs on the RAGE engine and has received substantial updates since its initial launch.

gta v Brad Chacos/IDG

This game won’t be included in our reviews going forward, as any top-end GPU is fast enough to hit bottlenecks at both 1080p and 1440p now. At 4K, the Radeon RX 6800 is a bit faster than the RTX 3070, and the Radeon RX 6800 XT is a bit faster than the RTX 3080.

Rainbow Six Siege

Like GTA V, Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six Siege still dominates the Steam charts years after its launch, and it’ll be getting a visual upgrade for the next-gen consoles. The developers have poured a ton of work into the game’s AnvilNext engine over the years, eventually rolling out a Vulkan version of the game that we use to test. By default, the game lowers the render scaling to increase frame rates, but we set it to 100 percent to benchmark native rendering performance on graphics cards. Even still, frame rates soar.

rb6 Brad Chacos/IDG

Once again, all of the high-end cards being compared here hit CPU or engine bottlenecks at 1080p, with every option landing around 345 fps. The Radeon RX 6800 is about 13 percent faster than the RTX 3070 at both 4K and 1440p, while the Radeon RX 6800 XT and RTX 3080 deliver essentially equal performance across the board.

Next page: Radeon RX 6800 and 6800 XT ray tracing performance

At a Glance
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